Young woman running in the city

The 7 Most Annoying Skin Issues for Athletic People

Do you exercise quite often?

While this is fantastic for your health, as well as for your skin in the long run, athletic people do tend to face a whole host of skin issues due to this increased physical activity.

From body acne to hyperpigmentation, here are 7 of the most common skin issues experienced by sporty people, along with ways in which you can avoid them.

Facial and Body Acne

Acne is frustrating enough to deal with on the face, but when it starts to develop on the body too, which is also known as bacne, this can be even harder to clear.

How does exercise lead to acne?

It all comes down to sweat…

When you exercise, your body releases sweat, which then builds up in your hair follicles, not only on your face but also your body. This clogs up the follicles, leading to inflammation and breakouts. Add to that the irritation from clothing, as well as any rubbing that your clothing has been doing, and you have the perfect recipe for a big breakout.

So, what’s the best way to avoid this acne?

Well, when it comes to facial and body acne, the methods are pretty much the same.

To begin with, make sure that you remove any sweaty workout clothing as soon as you are done, and take a cool shower immediately. To help unclog your hair follicles, use a cleanser that contains either salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.

Can’t have a shower immediately after working out?

That’s ok, because you can simply use a salicylic acid face or body wipe instead, and then have a shower as soon as you are able to.

Don’t forget to also wear loose and breathable clothing, as this will help to prevent your clothing from irritating your skin and causing you to sweat more.

Not sure if your workout clothes are breathable or not?

These are some of the most breathable fabrics:

  • Cotton
  • Linen
  • Rayon 

Heat Rash

As you can guess from its name, heat rash is a rash that is caused by heat.

In a way, its cause is similar to acne…

Again, it is your sweat that leads to this skin issue. When your sweat ducts become obstructed for whatever reason, it causes your sweat to leak on to your skin. The area around that leakage then becomes extremely inflamed, leading to the red prickly bumps known as heat rash.

Heat rash on woman's feet

How can heat rash be prevented?

Well, the solution is easier said than done…

The answer here is to keep your body cool at all times, which is, of course, quite difficult when working out. However, restricting the amount that you sweat is key, so it may be worth moving your work into an air-conditioned room on hot days, or saving your workout for the cooler early morning or evening air.

Just like with acne, keep your clothing light and breathable, to prevent it from rubbing against your skin.

Already have heat rash?

Here are a few tips to help you to clear it:

  • Make sure that you do not scratch at your rash, as this will only make it worse
  • Take an antihistamine to lower the inflammation in your body
  • Look for cooling sprays and creams, but make sure that these do not contain any fragrances or other harsh ingredients
  • Bathe your rash in cool water, adding in some colloidal oatmeal if the rash is especially itchy 

Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation can be caused by a number of different factors, with the main one being UV exposure, something that sporty people tend to experience much more of than those who lead a more sedentary lifestyle.

Not sure what hyperpigmentation is?

It refers to darker patches of skin, either on your face or your body.

Each time you expose your skin to the sun, your body produces more melanin, which is the pigment that gives your skin its color, and is responsible for suntans. Melanin is your body’s way of protecting itself against the sun’s rays, but sometimes melanin can be over-produced, leading to it clustering up under small areas of skin, which is why these patches appear darker than the rest.

How can you avoid this?

Well, seeing as it is likely due to sun exposure, the best way to avoid hyperpigmentation would be to ensure that you are using plenty of sun protection. Not only should you be wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen each time you are out in the sun, but make use of physical sun protection methods too, such as hats, sunglasses and lightweight clothing.

You should also take care to stay out of the sun during its hottest hours. These are usually between 11am and 3pm, although it will vary depending on your location. Try to seek shade whenever possible, and give your body regular breaks from direct sunlight.

Sun Damage

If hyperpigmentation wasn’t bad enough, the sun also leads to other skin issues, which, again, is commonly experienced by athletic people and those who spend a large amount of time exercising outside.

What sort of skin issues does the sun cause?

Well, the first, and most common, is a sunburn.

While you may think that this is just a temporary problem, sunburns are actually much more serious than most people realize…

Did you know that five serious sunburns can increase your risk of developing a deadly form of skin cancer by 80%?

There are many ways in which you can make a sunburn easier, and less painful, to deal with, using products such as aloe vera and green tea. However, you would be far better off avoiding the sunburn to begin with, as this significantly reduces your cancer risk.

Another extremely common skin issue caused by sun exposure is premature aging…

If you have ever noticed an increase in wrinkles in those who regularly exercise outdoors, then it is likely that they have not been using adequate, if any, sun protection. 

The sun is responsible for up to 80% of skin aging, causing everything from wrinkles and fine lines to dark spots and dryness.

Fortunately, there is a simple way to avoid all of this…

All you need to do, as mentioned above, is wear sunscreen each and every day.

Think you can skip out on your sunscreen because it’s cloudy outside, and you don’t plan on working out for too long?

The sun’s UV rays can not only penetrate through thick cloud, but also through glass, so even if you are working out indoors near a window, you will still need to wear sunscreen.

Artist illustration of UV rays penetrating layers of the skin

While a certain amount of sun exposure is good for your skin, your skin only needs 10 minutes of this a day in order to top up its vitamin D supplies. So, if your workout is going to be longer than ten minutes, which it likely will be if you are a sporty person, then definitely apply plenty of sunscreen beforehand.

When it comes to premature aging, make sure that you are already following an anti-aging skin care routine. Even if you are diligent about sun protection, you will likely still end up leaving your skin exposed at times by accident, so it is important to be using the right skin care products as a follow-up to this.

Athlete’s Foot

If you are already quite an athletic person, then you are likely already well aware of athlete’s foot.

However, for everyone else, this is a fungal infection that can be picked up from other people’s feet.

This does not mean that you need to be touching their feet…

Simply walking barefoot over public areas, such as in the changing rooms at the gym, can lead to this.

What does athlete’s foot look like?

It generally manifests as white scaly skin on the bottom and sides of your feet, with this being quite dry and sometimes itchy. It can also lead to a thicker and softer white skin developing in between your toes, before entering into your toenails and causing them to thicken and turn yellow.

Fortunately, this is another skin issue that is easy to avoid…

All you need to do is make sure that you are wearing sandals or flip flops when walking around public exercise areas.

Already have athlete’s foot?

You will likely need to make an appointment with your doctor or dermatologist, as the best way to clear this is with a prescription anti-fungal cream. It takes a few weeks for the infection to clear, but make sure that you have it treated as soon as you notice it, because once it worsens, it is much harder to eradicate.

Dry Skin

For some, exercising regularly can lead to oily skin and acne, but for others, it can have the opposite effect.

Those who regularly exercise often end up showering more often, which is necessary in order to clear away the sweat from your skin.

This is no problem if your showers are quick and cool.

However, if you like to turn up the temperature and enjoy a leisurely steamy shower, this is when the problems arise…

Wondering what’s so bad about a hot shower?

The hot water strips away your skin’s natural oils, which are important for skin hydration.

Yes, your skin does produce more oils on its own, but if you have a hot shower too often, you will be stripping your oils away faster than your skin can replace them. 

What happens then?

Your skin ends up dry and dehydrated, with red, itchy and flaking patches.

As mentioned above, a shower after working out is essential, but the hot water isn’t.

The best way to prevent dry skin from developing is by keeping your showers as cool as you can handle, and make sure that you do not remain in the water for any more than ten minutes.

Don’t forget…

As soon as you are done in the shower, it is important to apply a layer of moisturizer, while your skin is still damp.

Woman applying moisturizer on shoulder

Why?

Because a moisturizer is designed to form a thin protective layer over the surface of your skin. This prevents moisture from evaporating, meaning that if you already have extra water on the surface of your skin, the only place for this to go is downwards into your skin.

Frequent Eczema Flare-Ups

While exercising doesn’t cause eczema, it does cause existing eczema to flare-up, and quite drastically too.

Why?

Due to the moisture and salt of your sweat. These both irritate the skin, which not only makes an eczema rash redder and more visible, but also more uncomfortable. With an increased itch, you will likely end up scratching or rubbing at the rash, which then, as you already know, makes the eczema even worse.

Want to know how to prevent eczema flare-ups when exercising?

Here are a few tips:

  • Keep wiping off any sweat while you are working out, but make sure to use a towel and not your shirt
  • Wear lightweight and breathable clothing so that your sweat can easily evaporate off your body, rather than being trapped on your skin
  • Take regular breaks to keep your body cool, and drink plenty of water too
  • Always shower immediately after working out 

If you are already experiencing an eczema flare-up…

Tone it down a bit when it comes to your workouts, taking this slower until your flare-up has calmed. This may mean walking instead of running, or doing some yoga instead of a sports class. 

While you may be tempted to ignore the problem and just carry on with your normal routine, this is only going to make your eczema worsen even more.

Make sure that you are keeping your skin well-moisturized, as those with eczema already have a damaged skin barrier, which a moisturizer will help to temporarily heal.

If your flare-up is especially severe, then visit your doctor for a more powerful treatment. 

While these skin issues can definitely be annoying, the benefits of exercising frequently and regularly far outweigh the problems that these skin problems bring. As long as you know how to avoid the issues that you seem to be most susceptible to, you will be well-equipped to keep being just as physically active as always.

Three panels of woman's aging process

A Decade of Changes

As we age, our skin changes drastically. Skin is a reflection of what is going on inside our bodies. When we eat well, it shows in the skin. The skin also betrays when we eat poorly. Our skin reflects when we are stressed, tired, happy, and angry. It’s no surprise that our skin will also change when we get older, even though they are definitely not always welcome changes.

What happens to your skin at 40?

What is your body doing?

Your estrogen levels are heading down. You may be experiencing a slower metabolism and more fatigue.

How does your skin reflect this?

The collagen that keeps your skin firm is starting to break down. Your skin is also losing hyaluronic acid, which helps maintain the skin’s elasticity, giving the skin that bouncy, youthful appearance.

What can you do?

  • Taking a low dose of estrogen can help keep your estrogen levels from dropping too drastically, so these changes won’t happen quite so suddenly. This can make them more manageable.
  • Adding a product with hyaluronic acid will help your skin maintain its elasticity and hydration.
  • Using a retinol will increase the cell turnover of your skin. This will keep your skin looking fresh and bright- just make sure you are using a good exfoliator because retinol will create dead skin cells to exfoliate away and uncover younger-looking skin.

Woman applying serum

What happens to your skin at 50? 

What is your body doing?

Most women experience menopause during their 50’s. This means their estrogen production has slowed or stopped.

How does your skin reflect this?

Your skin can lose up to 30% of its collagen in the first few years of menopause. Skin will lose a lot of its elasticity, and be much more prone to dryness. Wrinkles will deepen as your skin loses collagen.

What can you do?

  • Hormone therapy (if your doctor approves) can help your skin hold on to more of its collagen.
  • Keep using retinol creams and firming eye creams to slow the loosening of the skin, especially around the eyes.
  • Switch to a rich night cream to combat dryness.

What happens to your skin at 60? 

What is your body doing?

As you age, your body becomes more susceptible to illness. Your immune system isn’t as strong, and things like smoking and drinking start to have a more negative effect.

How does your skin reflect this?

Your skin is drying out and thinning, so it is much more sensitive to sun damage, heat rash, damage from smoking, and other environmental factors. Wrinkles can deepen, and collagen breaks down further.

What can you do?

  • Keep using your rich night creams and retinol.
  • Protect the skin around your eyes- it is your thinnest skin.
  • Be careful to wear sunscreen and shield your skin from the sun as much as possible.
  • Most importantly, don’t worry about it! If you care for your body and your skin, you will age beautifully.
Woman looking in the mirror

Pimple Classification and Treatment

Pimples are never a fun thing to have to deal with. Nobody likes having unsightly, sometimes painful blocked pores to deal with, especially when they catch you by surprise or linger way longer than they should. And to make matters worse, not all pimples are created equal, and as such some require different treatment than others, and some are more severe than others. So how do you tell the difference, and how do you know which ones you can take care of at home and which ones you need a dermatologist’s help with? Keep reading and you’ll find out.

What’s a Pimple?
You might not think we’d need to define what exactly a pimple is, but it’s important to clarify before we move on; it’s always a good habit to review a concept before examining it in further detail. The term “pimple” is a broad umbrella term that encompasses a variety of localized infections that all share the common trait of occurring within pores that have been blocked by some form of debris (anything from oil to makeup you forgot to take off can do it) and as such, ceased to function properly—pores need to be open to “respire” and do their job properly.

Blackheads and Whiteheads
The most common and, thankfully, least serious, and easiest to deal with pimples are blackheads and whiteheads. Both tend to be rather tiny. Blackheads are clogged pores that remain open, so the blockage is easily visible and has a blackish appearance. Whiteheads are similar but have closed up around the blockage and appear more whitish. Both can be treated with products that contain salicylic acid, and may benefit from light to moderate exfoliation. Give it a few weeks, resist the urge to pop (seriously, you don’t want the acne scars; don’t do it), and they’ll more than likely go away. If they don’t, though, feel free to talk to a dermatologist about other methods of treatment. It’s unlikely you’ll have to, though, as blackheads and whiteheads should respond to daily salicylic acid treatment (look for face washes, scrubs, and even moisturizers with this ingredient) and once to twice-weekly exfoliation.

Papules and Pustules
These are the “middle of the road” pimples, meaning it’s a coin flip whether you’ll be able to take care of them on your own or need to see the doctor. Pustules and papules are pimples that have grown so large the pore walls have broken. Papules are hard bumps in the skin, while pustules are a bit softer and visibly filled with pus. Again, resist the urge to pop. Try salicylic acid and exfoliation as described above, but seek immediate treatment by a dermatologist if this isn’t working after three or so weeks.

Nodules and Cysts
The worst, but fortunately, least common types of pimples are nodules and cysts. These are blocked pores which have gotten irritated and expanded outward and inward (they go deeper into your skin and are visibly much larger than any other pimple type). Nodules are hard, while cysts are softer to the touch and may be visibly reddened and irritated. If you have any nodules and/or cysts, don’t waste time with home treatment. Make an appointment with a dermatologist today.

Woman getting her skin examined

Petechiae or Pinprick

You may or may not have heard the term “Petechiae,” but you’ve probably seen its effects on the skin. Petechiae are tiny spots that appear on the skin and look like little pinpricks. They often appear in clusters, and can look like a rash if there are a lot of them close together. Usually, Petechiae are harmless, and will go away after a few days.

Causes: 

Petechiae are caused when capillaries in your skin break and bleed. Many different things can cause capillaries to break:

  1. Straining for an extended time: Extended periods of strain can cause capillaries to break, resulting in Petechiae. Even something as simple as intense coughing can cause capillaries to break and bleed. Things like holding your breath, weightlifting, and many other activities can also cause the kind of bleeding that leads to Petechiae. These types of activities often cause Petechiae to form on the face, often around the eyes and mouth. These types of Petechiae will usually clear up on their own, but can cause discoloration on the face.
  2. Side Effects of Certain Medications: If you don’t know what is causing the spots that are forming on your skin, check to see if Petechiae is listed as a side effect of any medication you may be on. There are several different medications that can result in broken capillaries, including penicillin.
  3. Medical Conditions: Common illnesses like mononucleosis and strep throat can cause Petechiae, but the spots can be indicative of very serious conditions as well. Things like leukemia and endocarditis are also associated with the formation of Petechiae. Be sure to consult your doctor if you notice a lot of broken capillaries that are not going away to make sure there is not an underlying cause.
  4. Injuries and Extreme Sunburn: Victims of strangulation or smothering will often have Petechiae on their faces, and people involved in car crashes can develop the condition as well. Extreme sun exposure can also result in broken capillaries in some cases.

Treatments: 

  1. The first step is to figure out what is causing broken capillaries to bleed. If you can’t find out what is causing the condition, see a doctor immediately. They will help you figure out if the cause of the Petechiae is serious.
  2. Treat the cause. The Petechiae will heal on their own, but if you aren’t treating the cause, more will form. This may mean taking it easy at the gym, taking the time to recover from a cold, taking medication for strep throat or another illness, or switching medication to one that doesn’t cause Petechiae.
  3. While you are waiting to Petechiae to heal, putting an ice pack on the affected areas can help ease any swelling or discomfort that the broken capillaries cause.
  4. Give it time. Unfortunately, Petechiae can only slowly dissipate on their own. Taking it easy and giving your body time to heal itself is really the only way to go!
Man applying anti-aging cream.

Common Guy Skin Issues and How to Fix Them

Because the composition of male skin is different than females, it also comes with a different set of common issues. Like females, guy skin issues can occur at any point during life and it’s best to be as prepared as possible and to take preventive measures when appropriate. Below, Resveralife discusses some of the most common guy skin issues and include how you can fix them to get the best skin possible.

Man getting his skin examined for skin cancer.

Skin Cancer
Starting off on a serious note, men are more likely to get skin cancer than women are. A 2013 study found that one in every 50 men suffer from melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer), while only one in 35 women will deal with melanoma. A possible contributing factor to the men being more prone to melanoma is that men, generally speaking, do not apply sunscreen as regularly as women leaving them unprotected against harmful UV rays.

In order to fix this skin issue, wear sunscreen every time you are going to expose yourself to sunlight (yes, even in the middle of winter). Experts recommend applying a broad-spectrum SPF of 30 or higher about 20 minutes before you plan to be outside. You should use about a full ounce (a shot glass full) to cover your face and body. No matter how long-lasting a bottle says the protection is, reapply your sunscreen every two hours or after you immerse yourself in water.

Man examining his pimple in the mirror.

Excess Oil
Everyone is susceptible to oil production, but men have two times the amount of oil glands that women do. Not only do guys have double the number of oil glands, but they also produce five times more sebum (oil) than women do. Why do men make so much oil? The male hormone, androgen, is largely responsible for sending the signal to secrete sebum. This leads to oily skin and can be a major contributing factor in male acne.

Fixing this skin issue can be a bit tricky because acne affects people in different ways. First, finding a cleanser that has benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid in it is a great way to begin the fight against acne and oil. Another important way to cure this problem is to remember to exfoliate regularly, two or three times a week. You can do this using  scrub designed to slough off skin cells or you can use a chemical exfoliant (that can be used daily) to clean out pores, remove dead skin cells and fight excess oil.

Business man with dandruff issues.

Flakes
Dandruff affects both men and women and occurs when yeast reacts to the excess oil produced by men’s oil glands. Often, dandruff manifests as itchy, flaky skin in white or slightly yellow colors. The areas affected by dandruff also tend to become red and in men, it is especially possible for the condition to spread to the face in areas such as between the eyebrows and around the nose.

The first line of defense in fixing this skin issue is to grab an over-the-counter dandruff shampoo with pyrithione zinc. If this does not work, try an apple cider vinegar treatment. Mix one part apple cider vinegar with two parts water and apply to hair. Let that sit for about 20 to 30 minutes then shampoo. If you are still struggling with flakes, head to the doctor and see what your options are.

Male skin definitely comes with a unique set of issues, but luckily they all have fixes. Take good care of your skin and use preventive measures, like sunscreen, to help avoid more serious skin issues later in life.